Now here is a little something that makes Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” a sparkling model of decision. Will Microsoft actually allow Nokia to bring to market its Android powered Normandy handset?

There have been voices aplenty in both camps — those that have leaked the screenshots and press renders seem rather confident that Redmond has given the okay to Nokia to release this smartphone that makes use of a forked version of Android. Others consider it absolute twaddle.

Nevertheless, details are leaking out all over the place right now.

Earlier today we actually got our first real look at the UI that Nokia has reportedly prepared for these devices. It draws complete inspiration from Windows Phone, from the tiles to the color scheme — and that is putting it mildly. It is almost a pixel by pixel copy.

But despite these sustained leaks, it has been silence from the source.

Neither Nokia nor Microsoft, not even any other avenues (market researches, analysts) have talked about this allegedly budget handset that according to some is on track for release in the coming months. Before we get to the validity of these rumors, there is one big question that still demands an answer.

Specs, Please

There is a thing called specs. Hardware specifications matter a lot for Android phones, much more so on the lower end of the spectrum. Google could really have done a better job with the underlying code, considering just how popular the open source mobile operating platform has become recently.

But as things stand, Android is a mix mash of Linux and Java code that ever so occasionally acts up.

Even the higher end models suffer in this regard, but if Nokia is creating an affordable Android powered handset with a custom Metro inspired skin on top, it will have to really pick stable and optimized hardware to make these handsets stand out from the rest.

Coincidently, these are the very details we do not know much of right now.

Another recent tweet gave us our look at the back of the device with its trademark Nokia finish and hinting that the Android games are about to begin, but really, for a smartphone that is supposed to take over from the Asha lineup of devices, we could really use some numbers here.

Confirmed Existence

But the device does exist, this much can be said with reasonable assurance. Whether it is in prototype stage or ready for manufacturing is hard to tell. The big ask here is whether it will find a way to the store shelves or not? As difficult a question to answer, as any really.

Ultimately, this is more than just the creation of a Windows Phone copycat, a Modern UI inspired ramp up to the real deal that serves as an introduction to the Lumia lineup.

Nokia is said to be creating a completely new app store for custom optimized apps for this lineup of devices. The company and developers will have to take into account the low end hardware, too. And this will ultimately limit more demanding games and app, at least initially.

A Sign of Things to Come

Some say the days where vendors offer the choice of an operating system on the same phone are not that far away — imagine choosing between Android or Windows Phone on your favorite handset, just like you can load up Windows or Linux (or even Mac OS X) on most PCs.

Google may ultimately have the final say in this.

The Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 80 odd companies (hardware manufacturers and mobile operator networks among others) contractually forbids members from producing devices based on competing mobile platforms and even incompatible forks of Android.

Nokia is not part of this party, and is free to do what it wants, but other OEMs can well expect to be kicked out of the OHA if they try to get creative in this regard.

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